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7 Reasons Why Student Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid

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There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the debate about whether student athletes should be compensated financially for their commitment to their teams.

Some people argue that there is not job attached to being a student athlete, while others say it should be implied.

I recently watched a video that, quite frankly, I found to be pathetic. Let me address this video and list some reasons why I believe student athletes should not be paid.

1. Student athletes are not the only people struggling to make ends meet. 

There are tons of students who have jobs but still can’t afford to pay for anything more than tuition and books – they take out loans to compensate however they can. In fact, the average student will graduate more than $24,000 in debt, while the student athlete will have none whatsoever.

So when I hear that student athletes can’t afford McDonalds, I find it to be completely hypocritical.

I get that athletes don’t have time to fit a job into their schedules, but that’s the path they chose to take – they shouldn’t be given priority or special treatment over any other college student who needs the money since they’re already getting a free education.

2. According to athletes, their education is often compromised.

Student athletes argue that their education never comes first: if they miss class, it’s fine; but if they miss a game, they’re in trouble.

Again, this is the path they chose to take. If your education were your priority, you’d invest more time into it.

Clearly, student athletes would love the opportunity to play professionally, so it makes sense to invest more time into the sport than into class.

Other students have different career goals, and manage their time accordingly. That’s just how the system works.

3. Athletics isn’t the only path to college.

Another argument claims that without being an athlete, they’d never be able to be students.

Student athletes say that sports are their only ticket to college. But, financial aid and federal funds would easily provide compensation for someone in a severe financial situation to attend a public university – in fact, many people attend state schools for close to nothing.

While they may be harder to obtain, there are alternative ways to receive an education.

Some public schools even blow private schools out of the water in terms of academic standings.

4. The education they receive is free.

Student athletes take it a step further and say that there is nothing free about the education they get.

Yes, they have to work for it. That’s how life goes. Students who are on academic scholarships have to maintain certain standards just as athletes do.

The bottom line is that athletes are almost always given more scholarship money than anyone else.

So those kids who drained themselves, studying countless hours and working tirelessly, won’t even receive the same compensation athletes will.

Mind you, these are the people who more often go on to become innovative changers of the world.

5. Student athletes actually have higher graduation rates.

This video also says that half of student athletes don’t even graduate. That statistic is completely false.

According to reports put out by the NCAA, the graduation rate of Division I athletes has continued to outrank the national average.

6. The NCAA is exploitive, but money should be allocated properly.

It then says that the NCAA makes immense earnings off of the hard work of student athletes.

This is very true, as the NCAA raked in close to $1 billion, most of it coming from the $10.8 billion 10-year contract it recently signed with CBS. However, this money should probably be used to make sure college athletes have paid tuition, housing, meals, and healthcare throughout the duration of their contribution.

Maybe it could be used to further the education of these athletes by providing scholarships for graduation programs.

7. No other students are paid for extracurriculars.

To me, this is the most overlooked and relevant reason why student athletes shouldn’t be paid.

The video says that they bring such a contribution to universities, raking in millions of dollars. This is true. What’s also true is that other students also bring huge contributions to universities.

Students do research, almost always for free, under faculty members. The faculty members publish papers and almost never put the students’ names on them. They receive awards, get national recognition, and get huge funds in the forms of grants to continue research.

Sometime the research results in something that is sold for profit.

This makes universities way more appealing, leading them to receive more federal funding and applications. Meanwhile, the student who worked in the lab didn’t even receive acknowledgment for his/her contribution, let alone compensation.

Maybe with some type of reform to the NCAA, money could be used in other areas to help athletes out, though it doesn’t seem likely.

Even still, student athletes already receive compensation in the form of free education and, often, free housing. Unless we’re ready to pay other students for their contributions, we should hold off on paying student athletes.


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